From the start, network functions virtualization (NFV) has been a game-changing technology revolution for communications service providers (CSPs). However, one of the big challenges for NFV is the lack of true interoperability between virtual network functions (VNFs) and NFV infrastructure (NVFI).
To move forward, CSPs have made NFV implementation decisions on a service-specific basis.
While this optimizes for the performance of a vendor-specific VNF, it generally is incompatible with other VNFs, causing silos that require complex integration work for compatibility. Onboarding a new VNF in this environment is challenging and is difficult to automate or standardize due to the lack of consistency. This challenge has been exacerbated in 5G networks and edge cloud applications where incompatibility impacts network scalability and operational complexity.
As the industry begins to eye the promise for cloud native infrastructure and Cloud Native Network Functions (CNFs), Both CSPs and Cloud Infrastructure/VNF suppliers desire to solve these foundational challenges in a way that avoids similar mistakes.
The Cloud iNfrastructure Telco Taskforce (CNTT) was incubated in early 2019 through a partnership between GSMA and the Linux Foundation as a global open source taskforce comprised of industry-leading CSPs and NFVI/VNF suppliers. CNTT provides standardized infrastructures for both virtual machine-based and cloud native network functions, making it possible to deploy multiple network functions without having to create new infrastructures for each. This standardization enables providers to shorten deployment and onboarding from weeks and months to hours and days, reducing costs and accelerating digital transformation. Verification makes it possible to immediately determine whether a vendor’s infrastructure is compatible with target network functions. This ability to “mix and match” components in a single infrastructure increases interoperability and enables more complex functionality.
CNTT now works in close collaboration with LF Networking (LFN), which facilitates collaboration and operational excellence across open source networking projects, and its testing and integration project, OPNFV. Compliance and verification for infrastructure and cloud native network functions is actualized via the OPNFV Verification Program (OVP).
The goal of CNTT is to establish a framework that includes a reference model, reference architectures, and compliance verification suites. The ultimate objective is to continuously improve the predictability and efficiency for Communications Service Providers and their supply chain in consuming and deploying cloud infrastructure platforms, VNFs and CNFs, accelerating network transformation while driving lower deployment and operational costs.
On May 15th, CNTT released “Baldy” which includes the first release of CNTT’s container-based reference architecture, as well as final conformance requirements for its VM-based architecture and the start of container-based conformance tests, which will enable OVP to begin testing against CNTT requirements. Learn more in this whitepaper, blog post, and On-Demand Webinar.
We welcome participation from the community as CNTT evolves and fulfills its objectives. See the CNTT Terms of Reference.
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